Posts Tagged ‘Full-time’

Ten weeks ago today I was at work when I got a phone call from my Mum to tell me Dad was being taken into hospital because he was dehydrated, as he was refusing to eat or drink very much. Ten weeks on and Dad’s still in hospital.

Dad’s been in I think, 5 different wards over that period, albeit the last two have been because he climbed out of bed a couple of weeks after he went into hospital, fell, hit his head and gave himself a cracker of a black eye, as well as fracturing his hip! This resulted in him having to be moved to another ward as he had to have an operation to fix his broken hip. He’s now in the hip fracture rehabilitation ward where he’s doing ok as far as his hip is concerned.

Initially when Dad went into hospital we were over there every day visiting him, which was very hard work for me with working full-time and then going straight from there to the hospital and not getting home until 8 or 9pm at night. Fortunately after a few weeks of this Mum realised this was too much for both of us, so we now just visit Dad every couple of days.

I know Mum wishes she could visit Dad every day, but to be honest, due to Dad’s dementia, he has no concept of how frequently or infrequently we visit, and in fact during many of our visits, refuses to speak to us or even open his eyes, as he’s happy to sleep all the time. Mum misses Dad greatly, which is only natural after more than 55 years of marriage, however Mum was no longer coping with Dad at home and we had already started proceedings to get Dad into a nursing home full-time, so Dad not being at home anymore, was always going to happen soon anyway, it’s just hospital he’s ended up in initially.

Even although it’s my Dad we’re visiting, I’m sorry to say I find it quite a chore. Don’t think it’s because I don;t love my Dad because I do, but as far as I’m concerned my Dad “died” a few years ago when his dementia meant he didn’t know me any more and he could no longer have a sensible conversation with us. Much of the time when we visit Dad he just sleeps, or sit/lies with his eyes shut unwilling to talk  or look at us. Mum is still making comments to Dad as if he’s going to get better and as if he can logically understand where he is and why. It’s sad but also frustrating.

I’m physically and emotionally shattered most of the time these days as it’s hard work working full-time and then spending time visiting someone in hospital and just sitting there for an hour or more without being able to have a conversation with them.

I feel really guilty for feeling like this, after all, it is my Dad I’m talking about, but sadly Dad isn’t going to get any better, so it’s only going to get harder.

Hopefully Dad will not be in hospital too much longer. Although he will never be home again, as he will only be discharged from hospital when he’s able to go straight into the nursing home which is just a few minutes away from Mum. At least when this happens, Mum will be able to go visit Dad whenever she wants and as frequently as she wants, without necessarily needing me to give her a lift.

So 10 weeks and counting…it’s been a long 10 weeks, but at least we know Dad’s in good hands and getting the best possible medical care.

Last Saturday in Respite Care Request I spoke about how this week my Dad, who suffers from vascular dementia, was going into a local care home (David Walker Gardens) for a week’s respite care, to give my Mum, who cares for Dad at home, a rest.

I had taken Monday off so that I could help Mum get Dad ready to go to the care home, and then obviously take him there. I didn’t sleep terribly well on Sunday night as I kept thinking about how sad it was that Dad’s condition had deteriorated so much that he now relies completely on others to do just about everything for him now.

I was at the doctors early on Monday morning and when I got home, I got a phone call from Mum – she was getting a bit stressed as Dad was refusing to get out of bed and didn’t want to go to the care home. I tried to reassure Mum that as Dad was likely to forget within a few minutes, the conversation he’d just had with her, he’d probably get up in a wee while and be ok about going to the care home. I agreed to have my lunch and then head over to help get Dad ready.

When I got over to Mum and Dad’s, Dad was up and dressed, although Mum intercepted me at the front door to tell me Dad was still refusing to go to the care home. Mum had packed a small case for Dad, so I took that out to the car before Dad even knew I had got there. We managed to convince Dad to come out with us, by telling him we were going to see my Aunt – my Aunt lives at the same care home my Dad was going into for the week.

When we got to the care home, I think Dad had completely forgotten our earlier discussions, as he was fine when we went to his room, with his suitcase and then left him in the hands of the care worker. That was the tough bit, leaving Dad, and I know it was even harder for Mum.

As with the last time in November when Dad went into the same place for a week, Mum and I agreed we should not go and visit Dad during the week – in some ways this sounds harsh as I know Dad will be totally confused about where he is and why he;s there, however how is Mum going to get a break and relax if we keep going to visit Dad each day?

I was working on Tuesday and Wednesday, but after work both days I spent some time with Mum after I finished at work – going for coffee, shopping or dinner on both nights.

On Thursday Mum had one of her friends round for coffee and a blether in the morning, and in the afternoon Mum and me dealt with some of my Aunts business and then we headed to Silverburn shopping centre, for a wander round the shops and some dinner. Now here’s the surprise, between us we only bought one thing at the shops! – Mum bought herself a jumper. By the time I got home I was feeling really sore and very tired, so just spent the rest of the evening relaxing, despite all the housework needing done.

On Friday, Mum wasn’t feeling 100% so rather than go for a run in the car somewhere as we’d previously planned (which fitted in fine as both hubby and me weren’t feeling 100% either), we just went out for a sandwich for our lunch and then I picked up a few bits of shopping. Mum said she was quite happy to just spend the rest of the day herself relaxing.

Today, I was at the hairdressers in the morning, and when I was finished there, Mum and me headed out to the shops for a wee while. We’d planned to go through to Stirling with my hubby but he still wasn’t feeling too good.

The week’s been a mixture of ups and downs – between Dad going into the care home, some issues I had to get resolved at work, being in a lot of pain quite a few days this week, and feeling (and being) very emotional quite a lot, which if you know me at all will know I find it very difficult letting others see my emotions, so it’s been a all round tough week.

Part of me is glad this week is over, but part of me wishes it wouldn’t end, as although I hate the thought of Dad being in a care home, I know it’s what is needed to give Mum a well-earned rest from caring for Dad at home 24/7. Personally I don;t think Mum’s going to be able to care for Dad at home all that much longer as she’s finding it more and more difficult as Dad’s condition deteriorates, and his needs become more demanding on her.

We go to collect Dad from the care home and take him home on Monday, so I’d appreciate your prayers for Mum and Dad on Monday, as it’s likely to be difficult, as Dad will be very confused about what’s going on and where he is. The social worker assigned to my Mum and Dad is due to visit my Mum again in the next week or two to “discuss the future”, so I’d ask that you pray for Mum, Dad and the social worker,that the right decisions might be made for both Mum and Dad so that they can both live a comfortable life – I know there’s going to come a time soon when Dad needs to go into a care home full-time. When that time comes, it’s going to be tough, but ultimately I know looking after Dad 24/7 is definitely having a detrimental impact on Mum’s quality of life and her health.

Thank you all for your continued support during these difficult times for my family.